I spent my life working hard in very good positions for very good companies. I used to travel all over and to the outside world I was living a great life and doing some amazing things.

This was true to a certain extent, but beneath it there was a different person: someone who was struggling with keeping up with this persona and eventually this led to me having problems with alcohol. It didn’t just interfere with my working life; it had harsh consequences in my personal life too. I walked away from employment as I could see that my personal issues were obvious and my depression levels had hit rock bottom. This was the beginning of problems that I never thought I would ever face: surely it couldn’t happen to me, but it did.

I was privately renting when I walked away from my job. A combination of not working and very limited availability of other flats led to me being homeless.

I called my local council offices every day, asking for help to find accommodation, but my status left me outside of any immediate assistance. One day someone mentioned an organisation that might be able to help. It was to be a successful meeting as they referred me to Emmaus Village Carlton.

Finding Emmaus

There was so much that Emmaus had to offer. It became an ideal opportunity for me to solve more than just my homeless problem: I got help and support for other underlying problems that had been an obstacle for quite some time.

I had the chance to work every day. I liked working and the sense of self-worth that came with it. I got my forklift truck license, which is something I never thought I’d do, but in fact took great pleasure in.

Living at Emmaus was great, and the bond forged with the other companions was vital to my progress. I’d been alone for a very long time, but I realised just how important it is to have people around, to chat to and enjoy free time with. The support from Emmaus staff added to my sense of stability. If there was something in the back of my mind, they were there for me.

Giving back

After a while I left Emmaus and started a two-year stint as a Rough Sleeper Case Worker, working with people who are homeless in Bedford. I was excited to be part of a team which acts as a point of contact for people who are homeless. It gave me a chance to give something back: to give people hope and show them there’s a way out and that someone does care.

Working for Emmaus

I then moved back into Emmaus as a companion, but recently my life changed once again when I got a job as a staff member here at Emmaus Village Carlton. I’m now the Reuse and Recycle Supervisor, responsible for co-ordinating what happens to every item that’s donated by our kind supporters, whether it ends up being sold in our shops or recycled. I’ve wanted to do this job for years, so I was really pleased when the vacancy came up and I was accepted. I’ve moved out of the companion accommodation and now live in a staff flat on site.

Emmaus is always there for me, and I’ll always be grateful for its continued support.